- Hardcover: 262 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Books (10 April 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616207280
- ISBN-13: 978-1616207281
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.5 x 22.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 386 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity Hardcover – 10 Apr 2018
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"Kohn is funny and warm as she shares the best ways to shift the hate and dissolve the barriers between those of us with divergent views."
"A holistic guide toward building a world where we are all greater than fear and more powerful than anger."
"Whether she's visiting reconciliation villages in Rwanda or recounting her own surprisingly productive interactions with abusive Twitter trolls, Kohn is a thoughtful, empathetic reporter whose insights aren't just timely - they feel necessary to our survival."
"A stunning debut by a truly gifted writer--an eye-opening read for both liberals and conservatives--and it could not come at a better time."
--Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Option B, with Sheryl Sandberg
"A must-read book for all of us at this moment in history. I'm grateful for Sally Kohn's clear voice and vision in showing us the way forward."
"Sally Kohn has really done it this time. Brilliant."
"Sick of the anger, division and hate in our world? Sally Kohn's book is uplifting, funny, and full of inspiring solutions."
--Van Jones, host of The Van Jones Show and New York Times bestselling author of Beyond the Messy Truth
"Sally and I agree on very little politically, but somehow in spite of that, we have navigated a friendship that transcends everything else. This book explains it all!"
"A testament to the power of understanding others deeply, the book reminds us that even those we disagree with vehemently have a perspective and orientation in the world that we can learn from as we work to make the world better."
--DeRay Mckesson, social activist and host of Pod Save the People
"[Kohn's] passionate appeal for empathy provides a proactive springboard for readers who find themselves unable to comprehend the xenophobia and lack of civility in others. An uplifting and inspiring plea to promote peace, kindness, and humanitarianism in the face of hate."
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This book is an excellent expression of that characteristic. Sally has a talent for bringing emotion to her stories and connecting them to her point of view and her argument. She presented a way of looking at the world I found myself considering in more depth than I normally would. Her story of a Palestinian man who lost his daughter to meaningless violence was moving and challenging. She makes black and white topics far less clear-cut and I appreciate that.
Although her ideas depend on an understanding and acceptance of specific progressive ideas on the nature of humanity and the consequences of history, a conservative reader is given unique access into how progressives view things without the voice being combative or lecturing. I do not agree with the foundation of her reasoning, but I recognize what she is telling me is true. It is a unique experience.
Sally tries valiantly to incorporate a diverse set of examples spanning the range of political ideologies in order to provide a balanced view. Although I think there could have been more room for internal-house cleaning within the modern progressive movement, I appreciate her efforts nevertheless. I do not feel she attacks the Right as much as she tried her best to understand us.
This book is worth a read. Even if you do not agree with her at all on anything you will appreciate her insight and her personal stories. In terms of attempting to bridge the gap between political ideologies, I think this is an excellent attempt. In a rare case, both sides can benefit from this book I think. I appreciate her writing this and I hope it inspires more discussion and interaction.
A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity
By Sally Kohn
Reviewed by Jay Gilbertson
We all hate. All of us. That means me, and unfortunately it also includes you. We are not born to do this; to judge and then hate others. We are taught to hate by the world around us. And by the way, hate is a four-letter word, worlds away from another four-letter word: love.
Author Kohn first came to my attention when her Ted Talk landed in my in-box. If you’re not familiar with Ted Talks, you should be. Hate has always been a fascination to me, how bullies can develop from even the nicest seeming individuals and what is the motivating factor that allows us to hate others? How this powerful emotion can blind us into choosing sides and spewing hate.
It has to stop.
“In different ways and to different degrees, consciously or unconsciously, all of us, in one way or another, sometimes treat other individuals and entire groups of human beings as though they are fundamentally less deserving than we are.”
Though I do feel Kohn went slightly off the rails sharing examples in the book and over-explained several scientific research projects on the subject, her message is none-the-less important and very timely. I should caution you, as in the following quote, Kohn can be very harsh in her observations of our country’s past, but don’t let that stop you from hearing her larger message.
“The United States was founded on hate—the hatred that justified colonial annihilation of American Indians and that perpetuated the enslavement of Africans. Hate divided the country during the Civil War and, a century later, spawned protest movements and backlash movements, with activists vying over issues of justice and human rights. And Americans are not alone in this legacy…”
To understand how society can justify hate is not that difficult. If you don’t have the capacity to imagine yourself as black, Muslim, gay or anything you are not, you can justify hate. Everyone has done this to some degree. We all think we have it worse, which gives us permission to marginalize others by bullying, disregarding completely or simply not seeing our similarities. You name it, we find a reason and then we slather on the hate. The solution to changing this behavior of us vs. them is pretty simple. It’s there in front of you and it’s up to each and every one of us.
“We need to meet the people we hate and learn their stories, which means supporting institutions and policies that foster connection-spaces, and also creating our own. Getting outside ourselves, breaking through the physical and mental walls of our own narratives and viewpoints.”
The bottom line; it’s nearly impossible to hate anyone up close, in person, face-to-face.
“What I’ve learned is that all hate is premised on a mind-set of otherizing. The sanctimonious pedestal of superiority on which we all put ourselves while we systematically dehumanize others is the essential root of hate. In big and small ways, consciously and unconsciously, we constantly filter the world around us through the lens of our explicit and implicit biases. This abets rationalization and looking the other way about widespread injustices, such as dismissing entire communities that don’t have access to health care, of entire nations locked in civil war because they fall outside the sphere of our moral concern.”
There is a crisis of hate surging through the US and the world and we need to see it. Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Consider this. You don’t have to agree with everyone, or give up your particular beliefs or views, you don’t even have to like everyone. Actually, the opposite of hate is so much easier to do and be and teach and experience and share. We really only have to keep this one thing in mind; we are all basically connected and equal as human beings.
The opposite of hate is—connection.
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